Let's get this out of the way up front: I'm old. I turned 40 a few weeks ago. My alleged formative, great years-according to the radio and TV, anyway-were in the mid to late '80s. Truth be told, I'm more than happy to have moved beyond the high school years. They were not my best or even favorite years. I've had a heck of a lot more fun since then. That being said, that period of time did much to formulate and solidify my beliefs, ethics and convictions. Being born in the 60's pretty much means that you're a child of the70's and '80's, and the events of those decades were very, very influential. Which brings us to the "why" of the recommendation for seeing these movies.
The first of them is simple nostalgia, really. The Lords of Dogtown is simply an accounting of the groundbreaking that happened because of the Z-Boys. The story is more about the interpersonal relationships of that bunch, but the movie is so well done that I can't help but get that feeling of "the good takes place during my growing up years. Being a California kid when skateboards came out meant that my life revolved around skating (and BMX, but there's no movie to recommend about that) and all things related to it. LODTol' days". It extends even as far as the background music. There's a song by Budgie (Crash Course in Brain Surgery, released in '71) that went on to be covered by Metallica. Its all a wonderful snapshot of a very unusual time in America. There was still a little bit of that youthful innocence while the ways of the world were portrayed as well. The best and worst of the time is in there. Its a pretty doggone accurate account, even for a fictional story, of that time in history.
The interesting thing is that while it could be about the changes in technology, it remains to be about the people involved. All the changes in the scene are documented, but they're not the most important thing. The people are.
If, after seeing this flick, you wish to get a documentary account of the story, Stacy Peralta made great film called "Dogtown and Z Boys". He was there, so the documentary is as much a recollection of his youth as an accounting of the personalities and the times. Both of these flicks are really worth watching, especially if you're from that time...or your dad was.
The other film of note is called Miracle. It stars Jack Burton...I mean....Wyatt Earp...I mean...Kurt Russell. This is the story of the '80 Olympic Hockey Team that won the gold medal, beating the Soviets who were the best team in the world at the time. The best thing about this particular movie is that very few of the actors are ones anyone's ever seen before. They're not stars, but the performances are awesome. The players look like players. Even Kurt Russell, who looks very little like Herb Brooks facially, goes above and beyond in this performance. His was the type of portrayal that should be honored with academy awards, instead of the latest guy playing a drunk again.
One of the most telling things to happen in this film happens after the Christmas party as Herb is on his way home. They play a bit of the State of the Nation speech by then-president Carter. The section of the speech they used perfectly desribes the feeling of America at that time. We were looking for something to latch onto to make us feel good about being Americans again. The Carter administration inhereted some ugly problems (remember, there was still fallout from Watergate at that time), and created some more of their own. America needed something to get that feeling of national pride again. This team happened along at the right time, and handed the world one of the most amazing shockers of all time. This film does a great job of explaining why it was so important. On top of that, the actors look like hockey players, rather than actors playing hockey players and not looking like they belong there.
Both of these movies are snap shots of periods in time that could easily be depicted as different from what it really was. The way I remember it (yeah, I know) is how they showed it. Kudos, not to mention the endorsement of a blog writer that hardly anyone reads, to those that made this great films.
2 years ago